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McCain and Obama in tense final debate



A selection of highlights from the third and final US presidential debate between Republican John McCain and his Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

NASTY CAMPAIGNS

This debate was marked by testy exchanges on a number of issues. One of these was negative campaigning.

The candidates accuse each other of negative campaigning and false adverts

Both candidates sought to position themselves as victims of unpleasant - and incorrect - attack ads. Mr Obama said that he has been called a terrorist by crowds at rallies for Mr McCain's vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin, and that she did nothing to stop them.

Mr McCain said Mr Obama's campaign was spending "unprecedented" amounts of money on negative ads which falsely portrayed his election pledges.

TERRORIST LINK?

The give and take becomes testier.

McCain renews his attack on Obama's association with Bill Ayers

Mr McCain brings up Mr Obama's associations with William Ayers - a member of the 1960s-era radical group the Weather Underground which carried out a domestic bombing campaign in the US - and Acorn, a community group accused of violating US law while registering voters.

Mr Obama refutes the claims, saying the attempts to link him to Ayers and Acorn "says more about your campaign than it says about me".

THE BUSH LEGACY

John McCain tells his rival that he "is not President Bush"

"I am not President Bush," Mr McCain says, countering Mr Obama's frequent attempts to portray the Republican candidate as offering four more years of President George W Bush's policies.

Mr Obama says that on "core economic issues" Mr McCain has been a "vigorous" supporter of Mr Bush.

Mr McCain attacks Mr Obama's Senate voting record, saying he supported big budgets. He promises to cut taxes and balance budgets if elected.

JOE THE PLUMBER

McCain and Obama on taxes, tax-cuts and Joe the plumber

Some of the more memorable exchanges of the debate involved "Joe the plumber".

Joe is a real man, not a campaign invention. He is a plumber from Ohio who has complained about how Mr Obama's tax plans would affect his small business plans. Mr Obama defends his tax policies while Mr McCain says they amount to "class warfare".

THE RUNNING MATES

Obama and McCain are asked to explain the merits of their running mates

The candidates defend their choices of vice-presidential running mates.

Mr Obama says Joe Biden is "one of the finest public servants" in the US and he has "excellent foreign policy credentials". He calls him a fighter for working-class families who has not forgotten where he came from.

Mr McCain calls Sarah Palin a "role model for women" who has cut taxes in Alaska, where she is governor. Mr McCain says she would be a "breath of fresh air" in Washington.

ROE VS WADE

Obama says Roe v Wade abortion case was "decided rightly"

The candidates debate abortion - a divisive topic in the US - after a question about the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

Mr Obama defends the Roe vs Wade judgement that upheld the right of women to have an abortion. Mr McCain positions himself as the pro-life candidate.

HEALTHCARE

Obama and McCain on the merits of healthcare systems

Mr McCain attacks Mr Obama's healthcare proposals, saying if you like them "you will love Canada or England".

He seems surprised to hear from Mr Obama that his proposed health care plan would involve no fine for small businesses - like Joe the plumber's - that do not provide medical inurance for employees.


Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
365
McCain - Republican
173
Select from the list below to view state level results.

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